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Why Facebook Watch is on Our Radar

It’s been six months since the launch of Facebook Watch, a video ecosystem within Facebook built for episodic shows, both live and on demand. With season 2 pickups of original shows already underway, pre-roll ads likely coming in Q2 of this year, and lots of love from Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm, it’s no surprise that brands, publishers, and creators alike are eager to learn more.

At Fullscreen, we are working with partners to provide distribution and programming strategy for Facebook Watch. We’re helping partners grow their video audiences on Facebook by leveraging platform expertise and turning data into actionable insights. Early insights show Watch succeeding in shifting video viewing behavior on Facebook. In the news feed, viewers encounter video in a scrolling environment and only stick around to watch an average of 16 seconds before moving on. With Watch, the audience returns for new episodes of shows they enjoy, are notified of uploads, and view video more deliberately with clicks-to-play rather than autoplay. Based on data from Fullscreen’s Video Labs partners, not only is video the most engaging content format on Facebook, but even among video posts, Watch is outpacing other content. In fact, when duplicate content is posted to a regular page and a Watch Show page, videos posted to Watch have 44% longer average view duration.

Facebook is often viewed as a platform to reach an older audience; however, should Watch continue to see most of their content consumption come from 16-34 year-olds, it will be a relevant and valuable platform to reach younger consumers as well. With videos driving the current landscape and future of social content, here’s our take on Facebook Watch and why it should be on your radar:

  • Reach the Most Engaged Audience on Facebook: Watch has successfully created an environment where users view content in a more intentional, active way. Whether through publishing on a Show page or by delivering in-stream ads, reaching audiences on Watch means reaching viewers in an ecosystem that encourages them to stick with your content, giving you the opportunity to turn passive viewership into brand loyalty.
  • A Way for Brands to Stay Connected: Facebook recently adjusted its News Feed algorithm to focus on meaningful interactions, putting emphasis on engagements. Without strong engagement and an optimized distribution strategy, publishers and brands posting on a traditional page should expect to see a decrease in organic reach. However, videos from Watch Shows are still heavily prioritized in the feed and successful in activating audiences, providing a way for brands and publishers to keep connected with consumers despite algorithm changes.
  • Bringing YouTube Strategy to Facebook: Watch’s capabilities mirror YouTube’s. Followers can be notified of new uploads, can explore a personalized video feed, and receive recommendations on videos to watch after their current pick. Additionally, both platforms rely heavily on repeatable formats to keep audiences coming back for more. Although Watch has focused less on personality-driven content than YouTube so far, Facebook plans to open up Watch to even more creators. It’s no surprise then that behaviors on Watch are starting to mimic YouTube as well, with longer watch times and return viewership for predictable, serialized content. As Facebook opens up Show pages to an increasing number of publishers, there is the opportunity to bring organic programming and distribution strategies used on YouTube to the Facebook environment.
  • Making Facebook Monetization Work: Since last year, publishers have been able to monetize through mid-roll ads on Facebook, earning 55% of the revenue from ad breaks within their video content. However, in Q1 this year, Facebook changed their ad break requirements, increasing the limits on how long videos needed to be to serve mid-roll ads and how far into videos ad breaks must be placed. This increase was significant, with ads no longer served before the one minute mark. Because average view duration is so much stronger on Watch, Show pages stand a better chance of monetizing than traditional pages. While monetization is still in its early stages on Facebook, there is opportunity for brands and publishers to offset content costs and open up new lines of revenue on the platform.